Why is political integration achieved in some diverse countries, while others are destabilized by exclusionary regimes prone to separatism and ethnic war? Traversing centuries and continents, Nation Building delves into the slow-moving forces that encourage political alliances to stretch across ethnic divides and build inclusive coalitions: the early spread of civil society organizations, language assimilation, and a state's capacity to provide public goods. Further deepening political integration, citizens of inclusive states will embrace the idea of the nation as a community of shared historical origin and future political destiny. This is shown by contrasting three pairs of countries from Europe, Africa, and Asia and by analyzing datasets that cover the world over long stretches of history. Colonial legacies, democracy, globalization, or the nature of ethnic cleavages play a comparatively minor role in understanding where nation building suceeds.
Analyzing datasets that cover the entire world over long stretches of time, Waves of War traces the emergence of the nation-state, its subsequent proliferation across the globe, and the resulting waves of international war and domestic ethnic conflict. Political legitimacy is crucial in this process: once nationalism--the idea that like should rule over like--has taken hold in the minds of a population, the ethnopolitical hierarchies of empire are increasingly difficult to justify and anti-imperial wars may follow. After the transition to the nation-state, ethnic groups excluded from national government may protest the violation of the like-over-like principle and eventually rise up in armed rebellion. Wars between states over the fate of co-nationals across the border or over mixed territories may ensue. Long overlooked by students of war and the international state system, nationalism has radically transformed the modern political world and motivated many of its violent conflicts.
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Ethnic Boundary Making investigates how ethnic and racial groups emerge and subsequently transform and how researchers should disentangle these from other processes of group formation based on other modes of categorization. It shows how individuals deploy ethno-racial distinctions in their everyday struggles over honor and power and why this sometimes leads to boundaries that are exclusionary, politicized, marked by cultural difference and deeply felt identities, while in other cases they remain inconsequential for the life chances and identities of individuals, invite little political passion, and separate groups with similar cultures. Paying systematic attention to such differences helps to avoid both an unreflected essentialism, widespread in migration research as well as many "critical" race theories, and an exagerated constructivism according to which ethno-racial boundaries represent mere imaginations that ephemerally change from context to context
Nationalism— the idea that government should rule in the name of a nationally defined people, rather than God, dynasty, or empire—changed the political meaning of ethnic and racial distinctions. Once nationalism became the foundational ideology of the state, new ethno-racial hierarchies emerged. The lines of exclusion were drawn differently, however, depending on the structures of political alliances. Immigrants were denied basic citizenship rights in Switzerland, where domestic ethnic minorities were integrated into the power structure and national boundaries correspondingly hardened. Domestic ethnic minorities suffered a similar fate of second class citizenship where less encompassing networks of political alliances emerged, specific racial or ethnic groups monopolize state power, and nation building failed, as in Iraq and Mexico before the revolution. These new forms of political exclusion represent a shadow side of modernity, largely overlooked by classic and contemporary theories.
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